It’s officially the third year that I’ve been blogging. Exactly three years ago I posted my first Let’s Get It Started… Don’t ask me if I believe it or not! Let’s just say that it’s been a pleasure! Here’s a post I’ve been meaning to publish for more than a week now. And although it is now tagged ‘autumn’ (and St Pete is seriously trying to look autumn-like now), I think we can still be in the summer mode, right? So let’s tag it ‘summer’ yet!
It’s by chance that we’ve come by a jar of super rare cloudberries, aka bakeapple (haha), in sugar syrup thanks to our neighbour. She picked them up herself. For those of you who are not familiar with this orange arctic berry, see this Wikipedia article (where else?). I wouldn’t call myself its fan and here in Russia we mostly eat this berry when we’re ill… Well, no surprise here as it has all this vitamin C! I’ve also tried the traditional Finnish cloudberry liqueur – it’s sweet and tart at the same time and has this distinct cloudberry flavour. The thing that makes cloudberry anything quite difficult to… eat is that the berries have huge ‘crunchy’ seeds inside.
Two years ago – Born in USSR or Some Soviet Reflections with no recipe but an insight into some of the staples of the Soviet & post-Soviet lifestyle.
Cloudberry Cake adapted from cutterlight.com will make a not over-sweet soft cake with super-”crunchy” berry top
Here are my changes (follow the link above for the recipe):
As I substituted unsweetened applesauce with rather sugary chunky apple jam, I diminished the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup, I also used only 3 instead of the required 5 eggs and kefir instead of sour cream. I added ground ginger to enhance the flavours. I did not use a proper cloudberry jam but rather berries in sugar syrup which of course didn’t help with the sweetness much.
I had to bake my cake for more than 45 minutes as the syrupy berries had made the top bake longer.
Result: I would rather add the entire 1 cup of sugar next time, as the berries in sugar syrup. The cake itself rose nicely although the berry layer on top still made it quite liquid-y where the juices soaked in. Actually, the cake is very easy to make and as the author suggests, you may use whatever jam you want, no need to chase for the expensive arctic berry!
For other berry recipes, see this page.
The next recipe is not a coffecake but rather an Italian version of shortbread bars (if you wish so) or a pastry pie with jam, called crostata. This one is particularly nice as – although crostata – it is not too crusty =) I’ve also recently tried a French version of crostata.
Remember that cloudberries are also called bakeapple (in Canada)? And this is what I did with this recipe – I added bakeapple berries and … apples instead of quince in sugar syrup that was used in the original recipe. We actually have a quince bush at our dacha but we never dared to eat its fruits, I just reckon its not eeeh edible, probably just a decorative bush after all.
Crostata alle mele
cotogne sciroppate or Apple and Cloudberry Crostata translated and adapted from a great source for Italian recipes lepadellefanfracasso.blogspot.it - will make a super nice shortbread cake with soft pastry and chunky jam layer. My remarks are in italics.
Sandra, grazie mille per la ricetta deliziosa!
- 200 g flour (Italian flour type OO)
- 100 g butter - I added in several tablespoons of sour cream
- 100 g sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 jars of mele cotogne sciroppate (quince in sugar syrup) – I used a mixture of apple jam and cloudberries in sugar syrup
- 6 crushed biscuits – I didn’t use these, just sprinkled some semolina on top of the bottom dough layer
- a handful of ground hazelnuts - I skipped that as the cloudberry seeds are already like nuts!
Rub butter into the flour, add sugar, zest and powder, then incorporate the egg and the yolk and finally the salt. Knead briefly.
Fold the pastry, cover with plastic foil and keep in the fridge for half and hour.
Take the dough out of the fridge and leave to rest for 10 minutes at room temperature. Then roll out a bit more than 2/3 of it so that it fits the pan you are using and cover it with crushed biscuits, then the quince in syrup and finally with the nuts.
Roll out the remaining dough and cut it into strips with which you should make a grill on top of the pie. I baked my pie in a rectangular metal form lined with parchment paper. I didn’t make the top grill, I just placed the pieces of dough on top of the jam layer.
Bake in the oven preheated to 180°C for 30 minutes (approximately) until the pie is golden brown. Decorate with powdered sugar (forgot!).
Result: I would like to try this pie with quince but for the lack of it I used a no less rare thing – cloudberries. Their special flavour added to the well-known taste of apples. The dough is good, although I would use less for the bottom layer next time. But actually this thicker layer helped ‘support’ the – also – thicker jam layer. This crostata can be enjoyed as a pie or as bars and – as the experiment has shown – you can use any jam you want as long as it not too liquid – the chunkier jam will make a nicer crostata.
Soon to travel again, yep-yep! And obviously try new food and continue my ‘where the dairy products and bread are the best’ contest